Saturday, August 9, 2014
We Are All Hypocrites
Meme by http://www.funnymemes.net/funny-ecards-still-a-hypocrite.html
I admit I do get frustrated more and more these days. I really must temper my feelings toward the world. Read the newspapers, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, or whatever news source you read and you can see how the world is becoming more corrupt by the day. Evil is running amok.
No matter what position you hold toward Israel or Palestine, you probably have very strong opinions regarding either side. If you side with Israel, you probably think that the government there and its citizens are completely innocent of any bloodshed or any wrongdoing. If you side with Palestine, you surely are incensed at the lives lost, many of them children.
What is your position on the world’s religions? Be it Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, or even atheist you likely have a strong opinion on what you believe. Throughout history, as I understand it, most wars have been waged because of religion. Let me expand on that thought. I googled this question about wars being caused by religion and one website states that is not the case. They explain that wars are waged primarily because of sin. So let me just argue my opinion that religion is still a factor because man is waging war in his heart against God. Is it religion or not? If you’re someone who’s raising his fist against God and say you’re atheist, agnostic, or whatever, it’s a conscious decision to follow and be loyal to that belief. I argue that in itself this kind of belief system is religion. But I digress. Right or wrong, these are beliefs and traditions that run deep throughout our culture.
And of course there’s all the political games being played out in Washington and throughout the country. I might as well say throughout the world. You may be one of the few who still believe in any of the promises that President Obama makes. You may actually like the Affordable Care Act, want the IRS to harass citizens for political motives, and have the EPA radically change business and the economy. However, even if you disagree with the president and his policies, what are your options? Are you trusting in the Grand Ole Party? (I know, it’s supposed to be Grand Old Party but I don’t care.) This party is resembling the Democratic Party more and more. Can any politician put the country and its citizens before his or her own self-interests? One can become increasingly cynical as to believe anything positive can come out of any government.
These are only a handful of examples to get across a point. We all have strong beliefs. But while we maintain them, do we betray those beliefs? Are we hypocrites? Let me explain. Let’s say that you feel extremely strong about the United States being exceptional, that it’s a Christian nation and that it defends weaker nations and so on and so forth. You’re likely to point out all the positive aspects of the US and avoid any of the negative parts of its history. You can be very loyal, even to a fault. I consider myself to be part of that camp. However, we should be totally honest in that the US is not perfect. It has skeletons in its closet. There are the obvious moral lapses such as slavery, the slaughter of American Indians, the civil war, the discrimination against race, the oppression of women, etc. But what about today? My beliefs on abortion, immigration, and homosexuality run deep. While I maintain those beliefs, though, how are my attitudes toward those with opposing views? I have to admit that in my anger my behavior often is rude and antagonistic against the opposition. Obviously, these are subjects that evoke strong emotions on both sides.
One of the definitions of hypocrite is a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, especially a person whose actions belie stated beliefs. The key here is “does not actually possess.” I believe I have higher virtues and moral beliefs. And you may think you have higher virtues and moral beliefs, even though our views are in complete contrast with each other. In pursuit of our stated beliefs, I think all of us at one point pretend to take some higher moral ground. We think our position is superior. In while I love to argue and debate, there will always be someone who thinks differently and will point out obvious flaws in my positions. And in debating, I tend to ignore the gray areas or the parts where there is some bad truth that can be exposed. At that point, it certainly is hypocritical to carry on as actually possessing a higher moral ground when I’m aware of its flaws. Perhaps we can state there is no position that is absolutely perfect. That’s why we’re all hypocrites. No one or no idea is without flaw. That is the human condition.
There is One who is perfect and without flaws. There is One who can say that He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He is forever consistent in His actions, promises, and behavior. Jesus is the only One who can say that He stands on high moral ground that is superior to anyone else’s. By saying this I realize that there are many who don’t believe in Jesus as the Son of God. Their opinion of Jesus is going to be far different. However, this is the one position I would argue to the death. There is no one else that can compare to Jesus. He is the central focus in all of history. He is the God and Creator of heaven and earth. He is the author and perfecter of our faith. I may be a hypocrite in many ways and in following Jesus I may do and say things hypocritical. But that does not change who Jesus is and He is in every way perfect, without spot or blemish. The Bible says in 1 Peter 1 that it was by His blood that He shed on the cross that saves a person. Peter says Jesus was a sacrificed lamb, without blemish or spot.
It is because of this fact that Jesus is perfect, and was perfect when He was sacrificed on the cross, that He stands alone as Judge. Jesus pointed out our hypocritical natures. But despite our sin, God loved us. Romans 5:8 says “ …God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” This is why we can have hope for our hypocritical nature. We don’t have to be perfect because Jesus was and is. Since Jesus fulfilled the law of God, He did what we couldn't do. He died for our sins, the penalty for sinning against a holy God. He acted as a substitute and bore our sins. He was the Judge and then became the defendant accepting our conviction of death. So what then? He in exchange offered His righteousness so that we can be made holy before God, justifying us who deserved death. Again, in 1 Peter 1, Peter points out how we live foolishly. But because of Jesus we can live differently. We will not be perfect, or glorified, until we reach heaven, but we can become more like Jesus if we put our faith in Him alone. As Acts 4:12 says, “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” The only thing is is that the choice must be a conscious decision. You can choose life and you can choose death. In choosing life, you must be born again. That is, “… to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13) I pray you choose life.
(NOTE: I want to thank my wife, Shelby Spencer, for being co-author with me on this blog. If it weren't for her meticulous attention to detail and being editor of these posts, my writing would indeed be often incoherent and difficult to read. Thank you Shelby for all that you do. I love you!)